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vol.17 issue7Misoprostol: pathways, mediation and social networks for access to abortion using medication in the context of illegality in the State of Sao PauloThe stance of abortion in the Brazilian printed media ahead of the 2010 presidential elections: the exclusion of public health from the debate author indexsubject indexarticles search
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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


DINIZ, Debora  and  MADEIRO, Alberto. Cytotec and abortion: the police, the vendors and women. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.7, pp.1795-1804. ISSN 1678-4561.

This paper analyzes the illegal trade in misoprostol, the medication predominantly used for abortion in Brazil. The study analyzed ten cases that came to the attention of the Public Prosecution Service for the Federal District between 2004 and 2010. The cases were organized into three categories: 1. women's stories; 2. profile of the vendors; 3. maternal mortality cases. The research was reviewed by an ethics committee. The main outcomes were: 1. young women in steady relationships use misoprostol in the home or with the assistance of drug vendors. Of the seven women indicted, three were reported on arrival at the public hospital to finalize abortion; 2. the drug vendors work at the community drugstore and are local agents for the sale of misoprostol. They instruct women on how to use the drug and how to prevent infections, but refuse to provide them with care in case of emergency. Traffickers operate via the internet and have a larger inventory of drugs; 3. there were two cases of maternal mortality due to the combination of high risk methods, such as a vaginal probe and misoprostol. The main causes for maternal mortality are the delay in seeking medical care, as the women fear criminal prosecution, and the combined use of misoprostol with high risk methods.

Keywords : Cytotec; Misoprostol; Abortion; Maternal Mortality.

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